Yes it’s true. I ran away to London.
But how could I resist the place. I mean every corner I turn feels like a scene in a novel I’ve read (well, it probably is). There are square gardens with perfectly planted pink, purple and yellow flower beds that the polite peoples of the British Isles wouldn’t dare disturb. A perfectly planted garden in a public space in New York would last about 3 hours. Inevitably some lady’s Shiba Inu would come and pee on it or some stoner kids would trample it.
This is a country of impeccable manners among sophisticated city dwellers. There’s the rough and tumble lot but for the most part London is clean and lovely. Most of the dodgy bits seem to have been washed away to make way for the Olympics.
Don’t shoot me, but London is very similar to New York. It’s got a similar “feel.” Lot’s of bridges, lots of good food and everyone speaks English!
I’ve been here for about three weeks and am very very sorry to go. But of course I wouldn’t leave without recommending my favorites! Seriously, all you need is Oyster card, a bus map and some cash. London has completely shed it’s classification as a city of bad food.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, just some places I stopped in at along the way. Most are heavily weighted in the Bloomsbury/Fitzrovia area near my office.
Please excuse the crappy iphone photos!
Special thanks to Ben, Dominic, Gweneth Paltrow, Jesse, Lindy, Liza, Pete, and Tyler for the recommendations.
Bob Bob Ricard
1 Upper James St, Soho, W1F 9DF
You’ll want to come here for the décor. The food was certainly delicious, but the atmosphere makes you feel like you’re at a tea party thrown in the Kremlin. Had the delicious vareniki (heavy handed with the truffle) and the Cornish crab cake.
And anything that you don’t recognize on the menu is probably a dumpling. Vareniki? Pelmeni? Yep, dumplings.
The highlight for me was the Eton Mess; a desert consisting of cream, strawberries and meringue. Usually just mushed together in a bowl- this one was in a perfect sphere with marbled pink sauce that made it look like the planet Solaris is the Tarkovsky film of the same name.
The Cadogan Arms
Neighborhood: Sloane Square
289 Kings Road, SW3 5UG
If you’re in denial about your feelings about Made in Chelsea then you need to come here. If you don’t know what I’m taking about then move along. This is the site of a crying Millie Mackintosh in an early season of the addicting reality show. But it’s actually a beautiful old pub with a great chef. I had a delicious minty pea soup and fish and chips. A great big cozy spot to break from your shopping in Sloane Square.
94 Lamb’s Conduit St, WC1N 3LZ
There is just something about an Olde English pub that makes you feel warm inside. Whether it’s the pensioners in the corner that need about $250,000 worth of dental work or the multitude of impossible to understand accents, you just feel so British. Also, the various pickled bar snacks look absolutely disgusting but somehow quaint. The Lamb has all of this and you should certainly pop in for a pint if you’re near Russell Square. Also, the Pale Ale was quite good.
95 Columbia Rd City of London, E2 7RG
At the end of the Columbia Road flower market (a Sunday must if you’re staying for a week or more) is this amazing little restaurant. There are just a few dishes each day- a pasta, a meat, a fish and some fresh vegetables salads but each dish is so unbelievably alive and fresh that you could easily be at a farm in the Italian countryside. Well I’ve never been to a farm in the Italian countryside but I assume the food is similar to that at Campagna.
Neighborhood: Regent Street
9 conduit street , London W1S 2XG
New York is too self-conscious to support this type of mega venue. Sketch is a multi-level venue that encompasses an overly ornate tearoom and floors of constantly- changing eating and partying rooms designed to create a unique experience each time. It’s quite ostentatious and seems a bit over done. Imagine Boom Boom Room meets Sleep No More. Well, I just popped into the tearoom for breakfast which was lovely. Had a very traditional Sausage and blood pudding breakfast.
Hackney City Farm
1a Goldsmiths Row , London E2 8QA
Situated across from a beautifully dilapidated warehouse in the middle of trendy east London is a farm. There are two GIANT pigs and lots of chickens running around. A wonderful place to take your impeccably A.P.C.-adorned hipster baby to feed the goats. The food is very fresh and delicious.
Lucky Chip at Seabright Arms
London is being bludgeoned to death by burgers. Some may call it a craze, but it seems more like an invasion. Lucky Chip has one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s a blue cheese, bacon and jalapeno affair and good god is it salty and delicious. You’ll have to wait a while in the grimy Seabright Arms pub. But check out the Death By Audio-esq DIY venue downstairs where teenage punk rockers shake the tables. This burger is seriously GOOD.
Arch 374, Helmsley Place London E8 3SB
If you should find yourself in the lovely borough of Hackney you may start ot wonder if you have accidentally wandered back to Bushwick. Hackney is a haven for young hipster families and pop up food stands. An epic trek to Broadway Market to find the elusive Lucky Chip burger took me to this outdoor space. It’s part open-air kitchen, part coffee roasting plant and part craft beer pub. Located in an unassuming warehouse block on the south end of London Fields, it’s the perfect place to spend one of the few sunny afternoons and I would only assume from the beautiful café lights that it’s quite popular at night too.
129 City Rd London, Greater London EC1V 1JB
Like New York, London loves their cocktails. If you want something insanely delicious and as expensive as a nice shirt then Night Jar is for you. Hidden down an unassuming staircase near the Old Street tube station, this speakeasy will delight the senses. The mustached bar tenders will concoct one of the amazing cocktails on the long menu, but it will cost you, about 15 quid. Make sure to ask for a deck of playing cards which features some of their best recipes.
Bourne and Hollingsworth
28 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JF London
I thought it necessary to list not one, but two basement speakeasies and this is the second. You can even order your cocktails out of a teapot If you really want to get in the spirit of prohibition. I was particularly smitten with a vodka-based berry cocktail with egg white, served in a jar. The bar tenders are really really ridiculously good looking but don’t expect a smile with your cocktail.